According to reports, he said, “I believe our sorrow can make us a better country. I believe our righteous anger can be transformed into more justice and more peace. Weeping may endure for a night but I’m convinced joy comes in the morning.”
The Dallas police officers were gunned down by a sniper on Friday. The sniper was an Army veteran who perhaps was taking revenge for the police shooting that had killed two black men earlier that week. Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota had been killed in police encounters that week.
President Obama spoke to a packed hall which was only a mile away from where the shooter had killed the officers. He called out their names and the details of their lives. The deceased officers are Brent Thompson, Lorne Ahrens, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol and Michael Smith.
Five seats in the memorial were left empty in memory of the slain officers.
Obama is said to have praised the police officers for their work. He said, “Like police officers across the country, these men and their families shared a commitment to something larger than themselves. The reward comes in knowing that our entire way of life in America depends on the rule of law, that the maintenance of that law is a hard and daily labor, that in this country, we don’t have soldiers in the streets or militias setting the rules. Instead, we have public servants, police officers, like the men who were taken away from us.”
He added, “When the bullets started flying, the men and women of the Dallas police, they did not flinch, and they did not act recklessly.”
Former president George W Bush also spoke at the memorial and called for unity. He said, “At times, it seems like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity… Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions.”
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Police Chief David Brown also addressed the crowd. Brown used the lyrics of Stevie Wonders song ‘As’ to speak to the families of the deceased.
Obama’s visit to Dallas came as the country witnesses a series of protests over race and racial profiling.